Meet African Billionaires on Forbes List
- Africa currently has twenty-one billionaires
- Only two women made Africa's list of billionaires
- The average age of African billionaires is sixty-five
- Aliko Dangote from Nigeria remains the richest African
- Issabel dos Santos is the richest African woman
- The youngest African billionaire is Mohammed Dewji from Tanzania
In March 2019, Forbes published a list of billionaires around the world. This year 2,153 persons including twenty-one Africans made the list. Of the 21 Africans, 19 are male while 2 are female. They all come from these eight African countries- Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Their wealth was measured by stock prices and exchange rates as of February 8, 2019. In arriving at their estimated net worth, the value of their assets including private companies, real estate, and more were measured. Most of them made their wealth from the mining, telecom, manufacturing, banking, and oil and gas industry.
The average age of African billionaires is sixty-five. Aliko Dangote from Nigeria who is sixty-one remains the richest man in Africa with a net worth of USD 10.4 Billion as of March 5th, 2019. He was followed by Mike Adenuga from Nigeria whose net worth was USD 9.2 Billion as of March 5th, 2019. Mohammed Dewji is the youngest African billionaire at the age of forty-three. His net worth is USD 1.9 Billion as of March 5th, 2019.
The two women who made the billionaires list are Issabel dos Santos, the daughter of former Angolan President, and Folorunsho Alakija from Nigeria.
Africa is still yet to produce a tech billionaire despite the growth of the digital economy. A possible reason for this is insufficient investment in the tech space. Earlier in January 2019, a Quartz Africa article revealed that most African tech startups were backed by Silicon Valley and European venture capital (VC) firms. This was linked to a lack of understanding of the sector and a preference for traditional asset classes in the real estate, commodities, and the oil industry. This fact is not surprising considering the average age of African billionaires (sixty-five currently). Additionally, many African economies are dependent on natural resources. Since investment in mining natural resources is capital intensive and expensive, only a few take the risk and also enjoy the massive reward (when it comes).
I believe Africa will produce tech billionaires in five to ten years if African tech start-ups receive more investments especially from high net-worth individuals and African based VC firms. The good news is that this time, they will be younger.
Modupe O. OTOIDE is an International Tax and Business Consultant. She is a licensed attorney in the State of New York and Nigeria. She has a graduate degree in International Taxation from the New York University (NYU) School of Law. With her vast knowledge of regulatory and tax law, she has worked assiduously to structure commercial and corporate transactions to ensure profitability of business enterprises in various sectors of the Nigerian economy and the US.
She researches and writes on the global economy and how changing tax rules affect competitiveness and profitability of businesses.
In her spare time she loves travelling and exploring different cultures of the world.
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